Northamptonshire ready to overcome obstacles to Â£20bn economy â€“ Insider breakfastBy Adrian O'Connor, Business Editor
Northamptonshire will need to tackle skills and housing issues if it is to meet the target of growing its economy beyond £20bn by 2021, the chief executive of the county's local enterprise partnership has told an Insider breakfast.
Jo Lappin outlined Northamptonshire Enterprise Partnership's plan to increase the county's gross value added from its current level of £16bn in the coming years at 2020 Vision: The Future of Northamptonshire.
The LEP's goal is to create 32,500 jobs with the businesses in Northamptonshire and build 37,000 houses to accommodate its population, which is growing 36 per cent above the national average.
"Skills levels are an issue. At every level we slightly under-perform against the national average and the higher up the skills level you go the gap widens," said Lappin.
"We know there's room and opportunity to get a number of our businesses to be more competitive and we need to understand what's going to help them do that."
NEP is looking to improve infrastructure, connectivity and housing to help employers create more jobs.
Hal Reisiger, chief executive of Cosworth, spoke of the challenges his business faced in finding the right staff.
Cosworth has changed its strategy to meet the increasing demand for luxury and performance cars which Jaguar Land Rover has benefited from.
Reisiger said: "In the limited production performance road car market of 20,000 and 30,000, there's a gap in who can design those engines and manufacture them. We've defined our strategy to fill that gap."
Cosworth's new advanced manufacturing centre in Northampton is fully automated and green to help meet the needs of the modern market.
Cllr Jim Harker, leader of Northamptonshire County Council, and Chris Hatfield, managing director of David Wilson Homes South Midlands, also spoke at the breakfast held at Sunley Conference Centre in Northampton.
A full report on the breakfast can be found in the November issue of Midlands Business Insider. To subscribe, click here.